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National Mind trying to prevent local Minds responding to our letter

SHOCKING EMAIL FROM NATIONAL MIND TO LOCAL MINDS. National Mind recommends that local Minds ‘don’t respond to these emails’ … the emails they are referring to are the ones in which service users’/survivors’ express our concerns about Mind working with the DWP. Apparently Mind think that it is possible to push people who are too ill to work into work in a way that that does ‘not involve mandating and/or sanctioning people with mental health problems.’ Clearly they live in a different world from us. Here is the email National Mind circulated to local Minds, and below that is the letter MHRN sent to local Minds

Mental Health Resistance Network

Dear Colleague,

You may have received an email from Mental Health Resistance Network about Mind and DWP.

We reiterate what we said previously that for many years Mind has been campaigning for reforms to the welfare system, highlighting how inadequate and often damaging the current out-of- work support system is for people with mental health problems.

Mind strongly believes that the current punitive approach to back-to- work support is cruel and inappropriate. Sanctioning people - cutting their benefits for failing to do certain activities - can make their mental health worse, and simply doesn’t work.

We believe everyone should be treated fairly, positively and with respect.

You can read our comments about the protest here and the comment on the Disability News Service story here. This refers to a recent communication we sent to local Minds saying that we are considering applying to the DWP to enable local Minds to offer person-centred supportive employment services.

If we do apply, and we are successful, please be assured that we would only then go on to bid for contracts for local Minds to deliver that align with our values and that do not involve mandating and/or sanctioning people with mental health problems.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference next week where we can reflect on this together. In the meantime we recommend that you don’t respond to these emails and if you need support in communicating our position to your service users and supporters both these news articles on our website should help, or please do not hesitate to contact Gavin Atkins, Head of Community Programmes and Grants on 020 8215 2206


Karen Mellanby
Director of Networks and Communities
Mind 15-19 Broadway,
Stratford, London E15 4BQ
t 020 8519 2122

Now is the time to change YOUR Mind

Dear Local Mind CEO,

You are no doubt aware that welfare benefits to mental health service users/survivors are seriously compromised by the government’s program of reducing the welfare state. The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) believes that the government’s ultimate goal is to abolish the welfare state altogether, presumably to move towards private income and health insurance for those who can afford it and destitution for those who can’t.

At MHRN we are overwhelmed by cries for help from people who are distressed, many are suicidal, over the financial insecurity they face. Since charities are set to benefit from the privatisation of services and the program of disability denial, many are happy to collude with the government. Genuine mental health services are being replaced with bogus services that have the sole purpose of pushing people who are not fit to work off of benefits and onto a never ending job search carousel. Government contracts are being made available to charities before, one might guess, being offered to for profit companies a few years down the line. Charities like Mind are willing to cash in on these contracts, albeit that this may only be a temporary arrangement before they are opened out to the profit making market. Service users/survivors have nowhere else to turn than to campaigns like MHRN as we are trying to resist these attacks on them, they no longer trust Mind to speak out against the decimation of the benefits system.

Now that the benefit scrounger narrative has worn thin, the government is selling the idea of stripping people of benefits whilst bullying them into work by promoting the idea of a ‘work cure’. The assertion that employment is a health outcome for service users/survivors is a lie that was ratified by the Mental Health Taskforce with Paul Farmer as Chair. The theory that work is good for people with mental health issues originates in research carried out by the DWP along with the US insurance industry, most notably Unum from their base at the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University which they funded. Unum designed the Work Capability Assessment for the DWP but not before earning notoriety in America for the manner in which they were assessing disabled people in order to deny Income Protection insurance claims. The work cure theory, therefore, does not originate in independent research.

The term psychocompulsion has emerged at the same time as mental health services are starting to be delivered in Jobcentres.

The misuse of psychology to further Tory ideology is being resisted by some psychologists and therapists who say it is unethical. They do not want to be used as tools to push such Tory ideology.

At a recent protest by MHRN, Paul Farmer lied to protesters when he said that Mind was not interested in future government contracts. We now know that to be untrue.

It would seem that National Mind is interested in obtaining contracts for local Mind Associations to deliver ‘back to work’ services. Although some people who live with mental distress want to find employment; others do not feel that it would be helpful for them as they could not cope with it. That should be their choice. Bullying us to seek work, sometimes to the point of driving people to kill themselves, is persecution of a shocking nature and this national scandal is currently being played out in Britain.

Any mental health charity that participates in pushing people off of benefits or leads us to fear the loss of our benefits does not represent people in mental distress. We urge you to act by disaffiliating from National Mind and joining us in resisting pressure to submit to government policies that are driving people to despair and suicide. Please raise these issues with your board of trustees. In years to come people will look back on the current persecution of disabled people as a time of great shame in British history. Please don’t allow yourself to be part of it; we will never forget.

MHRN has vowed to fight Mind all the way as Mind seeks contracts that will harm us. We will protest, organise boycotts, educate and inform service users/survivors and speak out in public and to the press.

As you meet in Milton Keynes on 29th November, you may well discuss the lie of the work cure even though we tell you that work will not set us free. At this time, Tom Pollard, a senior manager at National Mind, is working with the DWP to fine tune how Mind can benefit from the persecution of people in mental distress while at the same time appearing to be helping us, claiming Mind can mitigate the worst of the persecution. Persecution is persecution; there is no less bad persecution, you should be speaking up against it, not colluding with it. We will not be fooled and we will do all we can to ensure that our fellow service users/survivors will not be fooled either.

Please consider what you, as a local Mind Association, can do to participate in the resistance rather than benefit from the persecution. Frankly, it would be better that Mind did not exist at all than be party to the harassment of anyone in mental distress.


Yours sincerely and, we hope, in solidarity,

Denise McKenna


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